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Putin Vows To React To NATO Buildup But Avoid Costly Arms Race

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin

NATO's military buildup near Russia's borders has thrown off the balance of forces there, President Vladimir Putin said, vowing to respond without getting into a costly arms race.

NATO has revealed its anti-Russian intentions by deploying forces in Poland and the Baltics and building missile-defense sites there, Putin told a gathering of Russian diplomats in Moscow on June 30.

"All that is aimed at undermining a military parity that has formed over decades," he said.

NATO has rotated weapons and troops to reassure its eastern members worried about Russia because of its aggression in Ukraine.

Russia views NATO's missile shield, in particular, as a top security threat and has plans to create three new divisions in its southwest region to counter the buildup.

Putin said that Russia will "react adequately" to NATO without being drawn into an expensive arms race.

"We don't intend to give in to this militaristic frenzy, but it seems that is what they are pushing us to, to provoke a costly and pointless arms race," he said.

"This will not happen. But we will also not be weak. We will always be able to defend ourselves reliably."

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Interfax